It was an insight that changed myoutlook and defined my life’s work.
As a marketing executive I facedan insurmountable obstacle: a rockthreatening to sink a start-up withan ingenious solution to an emergingenterprise software issue. But sincecompanies had not yet realized theproblem, nobody was tasked with solv-ing it. We thought we knew who shouldbe concerned with the issue, but wecould not get them to focus on it.I’ll tell you the story further on. Butafter years of losing money as westruggled to overcome this obstacle,I had an insight that not only led to asolution; it turned the company into arunaway success.I didn’t have a name for it at the time.But when I later heard about a then-new strategic marketing tool called “buyer personas” I was an instantbeliever. I had already felt its power.Having seen the light, I soon becamean evangelist for buyer personas byway of a seminar, Effective ProductMarketing,™ that I authored and ledfor Pragmatic Marketing®. Over thecourse of 10 years I taught progres-sive marketers all over America andmany other countries.When we started, the buyer personawas a brand-new concept. We couldsee clearly its benefits as a strategictool. What we lacked was the body ofexperience needed to equip market-ers with a proven execution road map.Looking back, I have to confess howcritical that execution piece is.Steering the proverbial supertankeris a snap compared to introducingany new idea in a major corporation.With a ship, at least you know that ifyou crank the helm hard, it will even-tually come round.Plus, I’ve come to realize that whilethe buyer persona is a tool every bitas sharp as predicted, it is not likescissors, something anyone can pickup and use right away.